Do Dogs Really Need to Wear Sweaters?

Diana Bocco

Many people think that dog sweaters and other pet clothes are too ridiculous to be used in the average dog, but the truth is that more and more companies are now making them. While they used to be more of a fashion statement than anything else, the truth is that, for some breeds, it may make sense to put a sweater on a dog. Small dogs and those without fur may get cold very quickly, so the sweater can help keep them warm.

Small dogs like Boston terriers may need a sweater.
Small dogs like Boston terriers may need a sweater.

Little dogs are the most likely to need dog sweaters. Chihuahuas, toy terriers, miniature pinchers, and other small breeds may not be equipped to deal with outdoor winter temperatures, so it may be a good idea for a pet owner to invest in some type of protection for the dog to wear during his daily walks. This is especially true of shorthaired or hairless dogs. Veterinarians do not recommend sweaters for animals that have long hair or are accustomed to cold temperatures. Dogs are naturally predisposed to survive cold temperatures, so most don't need the extra protection.

Sweaters help keep little dogs warm in cold weather.
Sweaters help keep little dogs warm in cold weather.

Sweaters are also recommended for dogs that live in an area where the temperature drops significantly below 0°F (-18°C). This is especially important for animals that take long walks or spend a lot of time outdoors, even if they are large breeds that are accustomed to the cold. A sweater can especially help animals that are recuperating from an illness or injury and are more prone to feeling the effects of cold weather.

Veterinarians do not recommend sweaters for long-haired dogs.
Veterinarians do not recommend sweaters for long-haired dogs.

The best dog sweaters cover the chest and end at the tail. Full-length coats may be harder for an animal to adapt to, and many would be reluctant to wear them or act normally when they have the sweaters on. These garments can be created from a variety of materials, although wool and fleece are most common. Pet owners who live in a snowy area may find that water-resistant materials, such as the ones used for human parkas, may be better, so they should research alternatives before deciding on the right type of sweater for their animal.

Sweaters can help keep smaller dogs and those without fur from getting cold.
Sweaters can help keep smaller dogs and those without fur from getting cold.

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Discussion Comments


Unless your dog has a super thick coat, if you are wearing a sweater they they should too. Sweaters are not bad for their coats, and they are not ridiculous. It's just a sweater. Not a big deal. If it's cold, put a sweater on.

And if your vet is recommending it, why haven't you purchased one already?


They are needed. I hated them too until I got a miniature pinscher and all she does is shake during the winter. Her coat is one layer and short, as it is with most small breed dogs. She has to wear a sweater and a coat to go out to go potty. Otherwise she messes in the house.


Dogs shouldn't wear them.


We bought our beagle a sweater for Christmas one year. When we put it on him he just sat there with the most ashamed look I have ever seen on a dog's face. It was hilarious.


I'm in a part of Canada that gets down to below 25 degrees Celsius, so sweaters and some kind of treatment for my Jatzu's paws, are essential. It's not a fashion statement (though I admit many of the jackets we have found are pretty smart); it's common sense.


I think dog sweaters should be only for small and sensitive dogs like chihuahua. Can you imagine how ridiculous a saint Bernard would look wearing a dog sweater?


I also need to know if a beagle needs to wear a sweater. Outside dog.


This is the most insane body of questions I have read on the internet. I've never seen people debate the validity of a dog sweater before. It's quite profound. Calvin S.


I have two Shih Tzu and my vet recommended for them to wear sweaters and such, especially during the winters in the south due to arthritis.


I live where it's extremely humid. I want to know about this for smaller bred dogs like Shi-tzu, poodle or cocker spaniel?


what about the dachshunds?


Should beagles wear it? with temp. +3-8 C.?


It's also smart to put a sweater on a greyhound in cold weather, since their extremely low body fat makes them extra susceptible to the cold.


Does anyone know how long a dog should wear a sweater? I heard it was bad for their coat.


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